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SteriPEN Adventurer Opti Review

SteriPen Adventurer Opti
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Price:  $100 List | $99.95 at REI
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Pros:  More reliable than other SteriPEN models, doubles as a flashlight, compact and lightweight, effective against viruses, quick treatment time
Cons:  Need to monitor batteries closely, does not filter particulate, limited to using with certain containers, does not treat water on threads of bottle
Manufacturer:   SteriPEN
By McKenzie Long ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 12, 2014
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Our Verdict

For UV purification, the SteriPEN Adventurer Opti is lighter, smaller, and more reliable than the old SteriPen Journey LCD. SteriPEN seems to have overcome a few of the finicky reliability issues with this model, and have developed a more compact and easy to use unit, though the green or red light indicating if it worked can be hard to see. It also has the fun feature of doubling as a flashlight. It is not as low maintenance as a simple and long-lasting filter unit like the Sawyer Squeeze since it still requires battery changing and monitoring.

As with all SteriPENS, with the Adventurer you are limited to what size and type of container you can use to purify your water in, and it does not strain out particulate, requiring the user to be more diligent in selection of water sources. It does, however, have the added benefit of treating viruses, making it a particularly desirable choice for international travel. Weighing 4.61 ounces, the Adventurer is an excellent option for a weight conscious hiker who wants a chemical-free purification method.

Our Analysis and Test Results

A handheld UV light unit, the Adventurer Opti purifies water, meaning that it treats for viruses as well as bacteria and protozoa. It does not filter out particulate, however.

Performance Comparison

Amanda Fenn using the 4.6 ounce SteriPen Adventurer Opti to purify water in her Nalgene bottle while hiking in the Sierra.
Amanda Fenn using the 4.6 ounce SteriPen Adventurer Opti to purify water in her Nalgene bottle while hiking in the Sierra.


The UV light technology of the SteriPEN Adventurer, which is similar to the CamelBak All Clear, is fast and effective against viruses, protozoa,l and bacteria.


If you are looking for a lightweight, chemical-free purification system, the SteriPEN is one of the best options. Including batteries and case the Adventurer only weighs 4.61 oz., much lighter than any pump filters besides the Sawyer Squeeze and is lighter than the SteriPEN Journey. However, the SteriPEN requires specific accessories to be carried along with it, such as a Nalgene or similarly sized bottle. This is heavier than a hydration bladder or a collapsible bottle, neither of which work with the SteriPEN. Once you add the weight of the bottle, extra batteries, and possible back-up treatment method, the system gets heavier.

Time Before Drinking

One liter takes 90 seconds to purify.

Ease of Use

Operation is as easy filling your bottle, dip the pen in the water, push a button and stir. In comparison to the SteriPEN Journey model, the Adventurer is a little harder to know if it is working properly, especially in daylight. Where the Journey has a relatively large and easy to read screen with a smiling or frowning face to indicate if it worked, the Adventurer has a tiny light that shines green or red, but is almost impossible to see in the sun.

Durability/Uses Before Maintenance

The primary concern with the SteriPEN and other UV water treatments is that the batteries can run out, and if you are in the backcountry, this could cause problems. The Adventurer uses the same Lithium photo batteries as the Journey LCD, which can be harder to find if you aren't in a big city, but they are longer lasting than double A batteries. The rechargeable batteries are especially hard to find, and last for fewer cycles. Our tester used the Adventurer Opti over a 3 day backpacking trip to sterilize water for 4 people, and the batteries were still going strong by the end of the trip, which is promising.


The SteriPEN treatment does not affect the taste of the water, which is mostly a good thing. Unless the water is particularly gross, the fresh flavor of mountain water, absent of added chemicals, is appetizing. Some of the pump filters actually improve the taste of the water, but the SteriPEN leaves the flavor the way it was originally.

If you just use the SteriPEN on its own, it does not filter out particulate the way that all of the pumps do. But you can by a pre filter accessory that will.

Best Application

International travel where viruses are a concern is a great application for this product. Also, because of its low weight and fast treatment time, the SteriPEN is ideal for trips where weight and/or speed is a concern. It is advisable to bring a backup emergency method along, such as the Katadyn Micropur Tablets, just in case the lithium batteries quit working and you cannot find replacements.


For $10 less than both the SteriPEN Journey and the CamelBak All Clear, the Adventurer is a relatively good deal for a UV water treatment. It even rings in as less expensive than the Platypus Gravity Works, which uses a much simpler technology. Remember that replacing the lithium batteries will require an additional cost throughout the life of the device.

McKenzie Long